Self-Care Journal

How a breakup turned into a new business

It's our first birthday!

As part of reaching this milestone and because our birthday happens to coincide with RUOK Day this year, I (Nathalie) felt deeply about reflecting on why I started this business and decided to share my journey with you.

I launched Self Cared on September 14, 2022, only a few months after my divorce was legally finalised.

The separation happened at the end of 2020.
To say that I was going through a hard time is an understatement. I felt like the rug was pulled from underneath my feet, I didn’t see it coming and I was devastated.
My entire world was turned upside down in an instant. I felt hurt, rejected, ashamed, vulnerable and lost.

I’d faced and worked through traumatic experiences before this happened and thought of myself as someone who was quite resilient, but it took everything I had and more to not only handle logistics and legalities, but also continue to work, deal with the emotional turmoil of betrayal and grief, and find my own two feet again in the middle of a global pandemic.

Waves of overwhelm, anxiety, panic, existential fear, anger and stress were on the weekly menu.


Taking one step at a time

At first, the simple goal was to survive:
I made sure I ate and showered, I tried to keep some form of routine around my work, I journaled and cried, I exercised and went for walks, I showed up to therapy.

After six months, I fully went into my cocooning stage:
I moved to a quiet town on the South Coast, rested, spent a lot of time sitting with my thoughts and feelings, and made it through each day as best as I could.

During this time, prioritising my own needs and mental health was key. I needed to be gentle with myself. I was navigating a situation I had never been in before and wasn’t prepared for.
My body was in shock and needed safety and compassion. But it also needed to process and feel all the emotions in order to heal.

On some days I felt sad, on others incredibly angry.
Sometimes, I needed to ‘just be’, other times I needed to run and scream into the ocean.

I had to learn to allow myself to feel it all, no matter how uncomfortable, and navigate how to process and cope with a situation I couldn’t understand or comprehend.

My therapist was incredible; her kindness, compassion and encouragement to trust in my own abilities gave me comfort and the strength to keep going, no matter how dark it all felt at times. In fact, she was the person who consistently asked me ‘What do you need right now?’, which shaped how I define self-care today.

And so, day by day, month by month, I slowly put myself back together, redefined who I was post-divorce and built the next chapter of my life.


Redefining self-care

Learning about my own needs in this way made me realise that self-care was so much more than face masks and candles. It’s not always about looking Instagram-perfect and treating yourself.

Sure, that can be a part of self-care, but sometimes, self-care is ugly-crying, watching a romcom you’ve seen a million times, eating a whole bag of chips, staying in bed all day or getting active and taking a boxing class.

Self-care is about tuning in and addressing what you need to feel ok. It’s about prioritising your mental health and figuring out what works for you.
Needs change, self-care can look different from one day to the next, and that’s ok. There is no one-size-fits-all.


The beginning of Self Cared

I had been playing with the idea of bringing beautifully curated products together for a while.

But this experience, this incredible loss which led to a new journey of self-discovery, gave me the fuel to make it happen and provided the core meaning, the why, behind the brand.

The message is simple: Self-care is whatever you need it to be.

Our mission is to make mental health tools and services accessible to all Australians. Self Cared is a space where you’re allowed to define what self-care means to you, and are encouraged to look at yourself and the challenges you’re facing with compassion.


If you or a friend are going through a breakup, you're welcome to read my top tips on getting yourself through a breakup, or browse our breakup collection.

Remember, if you’re in crisis you can contact Lifeline Australia on 13 11 44 for 24-hour support. You're never alone.


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